Henry Livingston, Jr.
Witness Letters



Dear Annie

Your letter has just reached me, and I hasten to tell you all I know about the poem 'Night Before Christmas.' It was approved and believed in our family to be Father's, and I well remember our astonishment when we saw it claimed as Clement C. Moore's.

Many years after my father's decease, which took place more than fifty years ago [1828]; at that time my brothers in looking over his papers found the original in his own handwriting, with his many fugitive pieces which he had preserved.

And then, too, the style was so exactly his, when he felt in a humorous mood. We have often said, could it be possible that another could express the same originality of thought and use the same phrases so familiar to us, as Father's!

What my brother Edwin said to your mother, no doubt, was true, but I do not remember the circumstances. I remember my brother Charles took the poem home with him, he was then living in Ohio, and I have an indistinct idea that he intended to have it published, but I am not at all sure on that point, so don't like to assert it as fact.

My father had a fine poetical taste, and wrote a great deal both prose and poetry, but not for publication, but for his own and our amusement; he also had a great taste for drawing and painting. When we were children he used to entertain us on winter evenings by getting down the paint box, we seated around the table, first he would portray something very pathetic, which would melt us to tears, the next thing would be so comic, that we would be almost wild with laughter. And this dear good man was your great-great-grandfather.

Now my dear give your mama and grandmama my warmest love

Yours very truly
E L Thompson

Elm Cottage & xx xx
March 4th

Thomas Collection


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